Archive for the 'Criminal Justice' Category


Pluralism as a policy paradigm

In social policy there are no absolutes.  Broad labels such as self-determination, mutual responsibility, etc. describe broad policies subject to an integrated and complex web of forces, powers and circumstances.  Certain labels might be ideal in theory but in practice fall short.  Some may describe in a broad sense a set of policies but in fact lack the substance for an accurate description.  An unfortunate aspect of the political market is that such circumstances lead to a postering for position rather than an articulation of policies and how they can be improved.  By its very nature politics is continually at risk of becoming an equation between different interpretations and positions rather than a collective articulation of ways forward.

An example of a convuluted term is ‘self-determination’.  The opposite is seen as ‘mainstreaming’.  Both describe the tension between the way Aboriginal identity is integrated into the broader and more dominant parts of society and the way it is protected as a distinct and seperate position.  One train of thought, put to me recently by an Aboriginal person strong in traditional culture, is that Aboriginal people exercise self-determination through retaining their identity: language, relationships, etc, and nothing else.  I am told that ‘this is self-determination’, meaning not some formal policy construct.  Contrast this with the policy label of ‘self-determination’ which was, in effect, the creation of thousands of corporate structures providing services exclusively accessed by Aboriginal people.  The two interpretations of ‘self-determination’ are quite stark. 

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Significant drop in murders in Alice

ABC News reports a significant drop in the murder rate in Alice Springs.  The previous rate was attributed to the extent and nature of alcohol and substance misuse.  The reduction is said to be the result of the Intervention and alcohol restrictions.  The significance of the drop will no doubt be presented in the form of an evidence-based analysis of such policies.  Attributing such a drop to the detail of such policies – and pinpointing which actual policies attributed to the drop – is a pursuit more complex than defined methods.  In the meantime we can be safe in the knowledge that a change has occured.   

December 2017
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